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The Simple Present


The simple present tense

This page will present the simple present tense:

  • its form
  • and its use.

Before you continue the lesson read the following passage and try to see how the verbs are formed and used.

he drives a taxiJames is a taxi driver. He drives a taxi. But on Sundays he doesn't drive his taxi. He stays at home.
The verb be, drive, stay are in the simple present.
(more on the simple present of the verb to be)

The forms of the simple present

The affirmative form of the simple present:

I, you, we, they play.
He, she, it plays.

Remember the verbs in the third person singular (he,she and it) always take an "s". For example, "he plays, she sings,it works..."

Examples:

  • Nancy and James speak good German.
  • Nancy works in a restaurant downtown.
  • The children play in the garden every weekend.

The interrogative form of the simple present:

Do I, you, we, they play?
Does he, she, it

Examples:

  • Do you speak good German?
  • Does Nancy work in a restaurant downtown?

The negative form of the simple present:

I, you, we,they do not play.
don't
He, she, it does not
doesn't

Examples:

  • No, I don't speak German.
  • No, she doesn't work in a restaurant downtown

The use of the simple present:

The simple present is used:

  • to give your opinion - I like ice cream. I don't like spicy food.
  • to talk about schedules - The library opens at eight. It doesn't open at 7.
  • to talk about daily habits (routine actions)- Sara eats a cheese for breakfast every day. She doesn't eat cereal.
  • to give facts - The earth circles the sun. The moon doesn't circle the sun.

The spelling of the third person singular form of the simple present:

All the verbs take an "s" in the simple present when conjugated in the third person singular (he, she, it) form:

Examples:

  • I visit my parents every summer holiday. But my wife visits her parents every weekend.
  • My brother meets his girlfriend everyday.

So the rule is:

He / she / it + Verb + S

There are however some special cases. Here are the spelling rules:

Silent e Vowel + y Consonant + y Verbs ending in o Verbs ending in s, z, sh, tch, ch
close = closes
note = notes
play = plays
say = says
study = studies
marry = marries
go = goes
do = does
miss = misses
buzz = buzzes
hatch = hatches
finish = finishes
teach = teaches

Examples:

  • She drives to work every morning.
  • He says he plays football on the weekends

Exception:

  • The verb to have changes its forms as follows:
    I have two sisters and two brothers. But she has one sister and two brothers.
    I have = he / she / it has

Things to remember about the simple present:

1.In the interrogative forms, we use "do" or "does".

  • "Do you like the house?"
  • "Does she go to school?"

2; Verbs never take an "s" in the the negative and interrogative forms.

  • "Does he speak German?"
  • "Do they play soccer?"
  • She doesn't like ice cream.

3. don't is the short form of "do not". You can say either:

  • I do not speak Italian, or
  • I don't speak Italian.

4.doesn't is the short form of "does not". you can say either:

  • He does not listen to jazz music, or
  • He doesn't listen to jazz music.

Exercises on the simple present.

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